Thursday, 1 December 2011


Bossism Beckons in the Mancunian Metropolis!

FROM Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the North East to Bristol-upon-Avon in the South West, in 2011 Northern Voices (N.V.) has been welcomed and embraced as a regional publication of note, value and something to be sought after at anarchist & other bookfairs. Among the Cockneys in the capital, London Town, at their famous Anarchist Bookfair at Queen Mary & Westfield College in October our sales held up, and scores of Northern Voices have been sold at the Manchester People's History Museum which, by chance next Saturday, is to be the venue hosting this year's Manchester & Salford Anarchist Bookfair: indeed sales of Northern Voices in Greater Manchester is well into the hundreds and our readership nationally is in the thousands. And yet, despite all this, Northern Voices (N.V.) is persona-non-grata at the very place where it at present sells the most. Both Northern Voices and the Northern Anarchist Network (NAN) have not been offered a stall at this event, being unwelcome in this, their own territorial domain.What's worse, we have not been offered a chance to put our case in an appeal to the organisers, and have not been given an indication whether or not the ban applies to this or subsequent years events.


We must note that what these two snubbed organisations have in common is the word 'Northern' in their titles and those on the bookfair organising committee objecting to their presence are members of Manchester appendages of national organisations that, some may say given this recent conduct, seem to take the name of anarchism in vain. It has been said that 'Northern Voices is the mouthpiece of the Northern Anarchist Network (NAN)' but this is a false allegation: indeed some in the NAN are critical of N.V. and the editorial panel of N.V. has always had members who would not describe themselves as anarchists. It would be better to say that the editorial panel of N.V. belong to an affinity group that exists alongside the NAN. The NAN itself contains a loose number of affinity groups and individuals spread across the North and it has no specific affiliated membership; indeed, at times, the national affiliated groups, the Solidarity Federation and the Anarchist Federation, some of whose Manchester members are now objecting to the presence of both bodies - the NAN & N.V. - at this Saturday's bookfair have freely participated in the forums of the NAN.

We have discussed the snubbing of both the NAN and Northern Voices with the person facilitating this Saturday's event: he makes it clear that it basically comes down to two influential individuals from Greater Manchester who have recruited a few local backers in the nationally affiliated bodies of the SolFed and A.F. to oppose the inclusion of NV and the NAN. In doing this, they have fallen foul of the certain sacred tenets of anarchism and adopted the trashy standards of every bossist tendency that marches to the tune of authoritarianism. Cast out with no right of representation or reply, welcome everywhere but at home, it's a sorry state of affairs for Northern Anarchism.


Anonymous said...

This is very strange. I haven't heard anything about this. I'm not sure why exactly you're not being allowed. Manchester Solidarity Federation hasn't taken a position opposing your group.

By SF's very nature 'a few members' wouldn't be able to formally oppose your group without achieving a consensus within our local.

Sorry to hear about this (the morning of the event). If a situation likes this comes up again be sure to contact SF and we will help you as much as we can.

*A Manchester SF member

Anonymous said...

Let's cut to the quick and stop the shenanigans. I gather that one of the Anarchist bookfair organisers said that two people had pushed for a ban of Northern Voices and the NAN at the Manchester anarchist bookfair. They were Ron and Sally. I`m not aware that the Solidarity Federation had anything to do with this. But why be surprsied? This happens every year and it should be patently obvious who the culprits are.

bammy said...


WHEN the history of anarchism in Manchester over the last half century comes to be written, what happened last Saturday at the Manchester Anarchist Bookfair will be but a footnote. Whether a dirty deal was done in which the Northern Anarchist Network (NAN)was traded by some so that the ICC & the Commune could be excluded by others is unclear, or whether the 'dynamics' of the organising group were such that all parties had a veto to use against any other anarchists that they didn't take a shine to is a problematic procedural point. Yet, neither explanation has much integrity by either the standardfs of natural justice in English Common Law or according to the commonly accepted standards of anarchist ethics.

What we have here is little more than the prejudice of a smelly little orthodoxy. If this is not the case then it is for those who perpetuated the snub of the NAN - a regional body dedicated to anarchism - to justify themselves in a way that is both specific and transparent. Even small, more or less insignificant groups in Manchester, must confront the consequences of their actions. As Jim Pinkerton, an old anarchist from Ashton-under-Lyne used to say: we must always be prepared for the floodlight of publicity to fall upon us and have our answers ready. Some people in Manchester seem to think that they can do whatever they like & never have to justify themselves to a wider public; that mentality is both irresponsible & corrupting. Based on the events of last weekend, there is a danger in Manchester of the rule of the 'malas lenguas' & the culture of Coronation Street.